Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Changing blade curvature in the quench

I'm working on a chunky quasi-wakizashi for the USN Gathering coming up with alarming rapidity, and thought I would document something interesting that happens when I do a quasi-Japanese blade.  My apologies for the quality of the cell phone pictures.

One of the factors to take into consideration when making a Japanese-style blade is the sori, or amount of curvature that is formed during heat treatment. In a traditional blade using tamahagane steel in a water quench, the blade is straight when it come out of the fire and curves first down toward the edge then up toward the spine. It can be very stressful and there's a high rate of traditional blades tearing themselves apart in the quench. With an oil quench, a blade tends to get negative sori, curving toward the edge.

So, with this 5160 wakizashi, I gave it more curvature than I wanted and let the negative sori straighten it. The soapstone mark on the anvil shows where the spine was prior to the quench.  I've never had a blade crack from sori in a canola quench.

While at the base of the blade near the blade/tang transition there has been almost no change, about 2/3 of the way down it has moved about a 1/4". It seems like this happens by far the most with the quasi-Japanese blades I do. It's like they know... ;)  I've gotten pretty good at gauging how much extra curvature to have to get the blade to straighten up to where I want it, but I don't do too many in this style.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wasteland Leather on a Helm War Chief

I've collaborated on projects with Noah Legel of Wasteland Leatherwork in the past, and have had several customers send him blades they've bought from me to get his distinctive and complimentary leather for them.

He sent me pictures of this 18" War Chief with black oxide finish and black TeroTuf that the owner had requested a sheath for.  As always, beautiful work, Noah!



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Social media

Oh yeah, I am not much of a social media person, but I signed up on Instagram this week and set up a Facebook account that is linked to it.  I have been snapping lots of pictures while I work.  I will still be posting here, of course, but if you want to see what I'm working on, check me out on Instagram @helmforge.

Busy, busy

Folks, I'm working to get ready for the Usual Suspects Network Gathering knife show in Las Vegas over the Labor Day weekend, and am putting in mighty late nights.  Please hold off on e-mailing me if you can until after that.  I'm trying to answer in a timely fashion as I am able.

Also, yes, my books are still closed on taking new forged orders unless you are active duty military, law enforcement, or first responder.  I'm trying to make progress, but new orders come in from those groups and go to the front of the line. 

Thanks for your patience!  I have lots of pictures of work still waiting to get posted.  :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Primal/tactical snake killer o-tanto

 This one was forged for the Blade Show, but came back to Texas with me.  It ended up going to a customer who has bad luck with poisonous snakes, and when he saw pictures said it would be perfect for the inevitable ophidian encounters whenever he is outdoors.

It's forged from 5160, with a blade 12" long.  The handle is two layers of paracord over leather, all impregnated with marine epoxy.

The Kydex sheath has slots for straps, allowing a quasi-traditional horizontal carry on a belt.

I also shot a little cutting video before it left the shop.